November 13, 2019

Preparedness Challenge - November Week 2

Newly washed clothes are a blessing. My November Week 2 Preparedness Challenge is about gathering laundry supplies for hand washing after a disaster. I just visited Tangier, Morocco and saw the poor wash by hand and hang clothes on roof tops. After an extended power outage, you may have to wash clothes by hand too. You may face a fire, flood, tornado or pandemic. I think washing clothes and sheets during a pandemic would be the most difficult. This week see if you have handwashing laundry supplies on hand.

1. Gather Emergency Laundry Supplies
It's always a good idea to have a month's supply of laundry detergent and other laundry supplies on hand. Most likely your supplies could last longer than that. But if you had to use them in an emergency, it would be a blessing to have supplies on hand.

During a disaster, you could wash clothing by hand in a sink or bath tub. But if you can't drain the sink or tub, a wide plastic tub and wash board could prove useful. Or you could scoop the dirty wash water out of the bathtub and dump it outside.

Rinse clothes in a bucket of water, squeeze out excess water and hang to dry on a clothes line with clothes pins. Outside or inside will depend on the weather.

Do you have enough water stored to wash clothes? Most of us don't. You could use rain water or stream water. Imagine that. You may want to wait several days before washing clothes until some normalcy returns.

Shopping List:
• wash tub
• laundry detergent
• washboard
• vinyl gloves (protect hands)
• detergent
• bleach
• bucket (to rinse)
• clothes line
• clothes pins

Useful clothes washing links:

May you have a blessed week.

Valerie Albrechtsen
The Food Storage Organizer

Printable Preparedness Challenge November Week 2 (coming!)

November 4, 2019

Preparedness Challenge - November Week 1

Along with your holiday food shopping, this month gather some extra baking basics into your food storage such as baking soda and powder, brownie or cake mixes, flour, salt, broths and soups. They are typically on sale at this time of year, so stock up! Gather enough items for this winter and into the next year. Most baking basics have an amazing shelf life. Here is what you could gather this month.

1. Gather a 3-Month Supply of Baking Basics
Even if you don't bake much now, if your goal is self-reliance versus government or church dependence, keep supplies that will sustain you during job loss, economic crisis, long-term illness or disaster. Here are a few ideas. Feel free to add some of your own.

  • baking soda
  • baking powder
  • salt
  • cornstarch
  • cream of tartar
  • soups
  • broths
  • brownie or cake mixes
  • yeast - now or in December
  • sprinkles - got to have a few

2. Gather Long-Term Flour and Salt
The LDS Church sells white flour in large #10 cans for $4.00 in Home Storage Center stores. Or online you can buy 6 cans in a box for $25.00. A great deal since this flour has a 10-year shelf life. You could of course purchase white flour bags at the grocery store with a 1-year pantry shelf life. Bagged wheat flour only has a 1 to 3 month shelf life. Yes, really. I prefer to store some cans of white flour, but more cans of wheat since I can grind it into flour.

  • Flour: 1-month adult supply = 1 LDS #10 can or 4 lbs.

Salt (or sodium chloride) is essential for the human body. You don't have to buy it in a special storage container as it has an indefinite shelf life. You could buy sea salt for your table and regular salt for baking. Keep it dry and in a dark, pantry cupboard.

  • 3-month adult supply = 20 ounces OR
  • 1-year adult supply = 5 lbs. (Yep!)

Bake a few cookies for me this month!

Valerie Albrechtsen
The Food Storage Organizer

October 22, 2019

Keep It Simple Preparedness Guide Sample

Today I'd like to share a sample page from my Keep It Simple Preparedness Guide. I created this for those of you new to gathering food storage and emergency supplies. I've written this for people who are not members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and those who are LDS members.

For generations, members of the LDS Church have been counselled to prepare for adversity by setting aside a little money, gathering food storage, emergency water and emergency supplies so we may help our families and those around us during difficult times. This quest for self-reliance rather than government dependence gives us peace of mind.

Though I am a member of the LDS Church, what I have written are my personal reflections and ideas. And I willingly share them with others so that they may become better prepared. I hope you will find this guide simple, because that was the prompting I received on how I should create it.

The Keep It Simple Preparedness Guide will be a download you may print on your own computer. It could be printed for a binder or attached to planners. I will create several sizes. I hope to have it completed in the next few weeks.

Please share any suggestions with me here: I look forward to your comments.

Thank you for your support!

Valerie Albrechtsen
The Food Storage Organizer

October 15, 2019

Preparedness Challenge - October Week 2

Fall is my favorite time of year when the weather gets cooler and the leaves change color. Because of the cooler temperatures, your October Week 2 Preparedness Challenge is to inventory and gather items to keep you warm this winter. These items will vary depending on where you live. But in an emergency situation when your power is out or the furnace is off, you need to find ways to stay warm. I'll keep this week's tasks simple.

1. Inventory Blankets

  • Many of us have blankets, but have you ever taken an inventory of them? Look throughout your house to see if you have enough. What is enough, you say? Well, if you didn't have heat this winter, can you keep yourself warm with your blankets? If you child's favorite blanket gets dirty, is there another one to replace it? Decide what the right number of blankets is for your family.

2. Inventory Pajamas, Sweaters and Coats

  • This week look over your pajamas, sweaters, sweatshirts, jackets and coats. Do you have the right size for each child? Has their size changed, or has your size changed? 
  • Is it time to buy a new coat? Is your coat adequate to keep you warm and dry if you had to sleep in your car? 
  • There are many great sales on these clothing items this time of year. Take advantage of those sales and stock up for your family.

3. Add Warm Clothing to Your 72-Hour Kit
If you live where winters are cold, add some of these items to your 72-hour kit:

  • emergency blanket
  • beanie 
  • mittens
  • hand and foot warmers. Costco and Amazon usually have a big box of these for a decent price. Add some to your kit and keep some in a cupboard for other winter uses.
  • If you store your kits near your coats, it will make it easy to grab and go if needed.

Enjoy cuddling up this week!

Valerie Albrechtsen
The Food Storage Organizer

October 7, 2019

General Conference October 2019 Quotes

During the October 2019 LDS General Conference, I created picture quote memes about each talk. Concentrating and creating helped me focus more on what was being taught. I think this will become a favorite General Conference tradition.  Here are my favorite quotes. 😁

September 30, 2019

Preparedness Challenge - October Week 1

A new month is upon us with many opportunities to become better prepared for emergencies. This month we'll gather items to keep us warm as well as oils and fats. Some people don't like the word fat, but you must store some in your food storage because your body needs this nutrient. And you need fats to cook and bake with. Our first preparedness challenge is to take an inventory of our oils and fats and gather a 3-month supply of them.

1. Inventory Oils and Fats

  • Look in your pantry and list the items you typically us as nut butters, cooking oils, chocolate chips (yep!), butter (freeze it) shortening, coconut oil and mayonnaise. Throw away old items that are past their shelf life. (see chart below)
  • Write down your ultimate goal for each item. Perhaps you only want a 3-month supply of chocolate chips, but a year's supply of cooking oil. It's totally up to you. Did you know that 2 gallons of oil is the suggested year's supply amount for one adult? You can always start with less than that and build up your supply over time.
  • Here is a link to a handout with food storage amounts from BYU: Approach to Longer-Term Food Storage.

2. Buy a 3-Month Supply of Oils and Fats

  • Look at the inventory list you made and decide what you can afford to purchase this week or throughout the month. During the fall, many of these items go on sale at grocery stores, so it's a great time of year to purchase them. If you live in Utah, take advantage of the case lot sales going on this week.

EnJOY gathering food storage this week. It's a wonderful time of year!

Valerie Albrechtsen
The Food Storage Organizer

September 29, 2019

LDS Food Storage Specials: October

Here are the October specials at the U.S. LDS Home Storage Centers. Each month four food storage items are sold at about 10% off the regular price.

Most of the food storage items at these centers are sealed for long-term storage and some for short-term storage. A great way to save and stock up!

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and those of other faiths, may purchase these items. Store locations may be FOUND HERE.

September 24, 2019

Preparedness Challenge - September Week 3

The Preparedness Challenge for September Week 3 will be easy; add sturdy shoes, shirts and pants to your 72-hour kit. The most important thing is to have your clothes stored near or in your kit. You want to be able to grab and go, and not have to hunt for them during an evacuation. Just like you, I have some work to do.

1. Add Sturdy Shoes, Shirt and Pants to Your 72-Hour Kit
Sturdy Shoes
  • A pair of sturdy shoes should be kept by your 72-hour kit so you don't have to search for them. If you keep your kit in your coat closet, shoes should be kept there. Or if you store your kit under your bed, keep shoes there. You may already have a pair. Just keep them close to your kit.
  • Why sturdy? Consider the disasters that could happen in your area. Earthquake, fire, flood, tornado...flip flops won't do. Many disasters leave glass and debris behind.
  • Choose something that will work in any season. Boots are a good choice.
  • 2 short-sleeved and 2 long-sleeved. Think of your climate. Fabric matters and your comfort. Cotton is always good.
  • 2 pairs of denim or canvas pants. One pair could have a zipper at the knee so it can become shorts.
All of these items may not fit in your backpack, so put them in a bag or tote near your kit. To save money, find something at a thrift store. Add these clothes to your planner and gather them this week or month.

Like a firefighter, always have some extra clothing ready. I hope you find clothes that work for you and your family this week!

Valerie Albrechtsen

September 17, 2019

Grab and Go Evacuation List in 10 Steps

It's always better to plan ahead before an evacuation when your mind is clear, rather than during an actual life-threatening evacuation when you’re having an adrenaline attack. If someone knocked on your door and said you had a few minutes to evacuate, would you be ready? During a mandatory evacuation your greatest concern is the lives of your family. Planning ahead is essential. Here are 10 ideas of how to plan what you will take and the order you would take them.

Every time I do this activity, I realize I'm not as prepared as I want to be and it makes me a bit crazy. Honestly, I've never evacuated, so this activity is something I had to imagine, and it always gets my heart racing.
How to Prioritize an Evacuation List
  1. Create a list of the most important items you would take with you if you had to evacuate.
  2. Divide the big list into 3 smaller lists; what you would take if you had 5 minutes, 15 minutes or 30 minutes to evacuate. See back of this handout.
  3. Arrange your items in the order you would grab them in your house to save you the most time. Perhaps start upstairs, and work your way down. If you don't have an upstairs, then choose a room you would go to first.  
  4. Keep emergency items such as a lantern in a central location such as a hall closet so they are easy to grab and go. 
  5. Have a habit of keeping things in their specified locations, otherwise you'll run around and waste precious time.
  6. During an evacuation, grab the list and a laundry basket and fill it as you gather items.
  7. If you have more than 5 minutes, grab items from the 5 minute AND 15 minute list. If you have 30 minutes, grab items from all of your lists.
  8. Practice the evacuation with your family before a real evacuation is necessary. Also designate a meeting place outside your home at a nearby church or school.
  9. Teach teens that if you are not home, it is safer for them to get out of the house instead of grabbing items on your list. 
  10. Make several copies of the list and hang it inside various cabinets in your home where family will see it but the world won't. 

September 15, 2019

Preparedness Challenge - September Week 2

A new week is upon us so it's time to work on another preparedness challenge. Since our focus this month includes emergency power, during September week 2 decide if you want to purchase a generator. Maybe it will be an early Christmas present for the safety of your family. This is definitely a study-it-out-in-your-mind kind of purchase because they cost anywhere from $400 to $6000. Also gather extra batteries this month.

1. Buy a Generator and Fuel
During a disaster, our power will most likely be shut off. Electricity powers many items including your wheat grinder, can opener, microwave oven, refrigerator, freezer, fans, furnace, air conditioning, electric stove top, washer, dryer, computers, television, medical equipment just to name a few. If you can't live without these for a week, maybe purchase a generator.
  • Here's a Consumer Reports article to study before you buy a generator.
  • Just like cases of bottled water, generators disappear from store shelves before a disaster. We don't always have warning when a disaster will strike.
  • Dual fuel portable generators run on either gas or propane. If your gas cans become empty, and gas station pumps run on electricity, where will you find more gas? Propane is an option.
  • Electricians can attach a more powerful generator to your home, but it's pricey.
  • It's a good idea to lock your generator to something if you are running it at night. Generators are loud and have been known to disappear overnight. 
  • Look up Sam's Club generators online. Different states will have different models. My local Costco has these portable generators on store shelves:

2. Buy Heavy-Duty Extension Cords
Besides having extra fuel on hand, you'll need long heavy-duty extension cords to plug your refrigerator and freezer or furnace into the generator. "Always operate a generator a minimum of 20 feet from your home, with the exhaust directed away from any windows, doors, air conditioners or other structures." Consumer Reports

  • Where is the best area to place your generator outside so you can plug items into it? Get out a measuring tape and measure the distance. It may surprise you how far it is. Our distance was 75 feet. You may end up buying two generators: one to keep your freezer foods safe in your basement and another to take care of other needs on another level of your home.

3. Buy Extra Batteries
It's always a good idea to have extra batteries on hand. Some are specialized. Consider some of the items you use batteries for in your home. Most flashlights use them as well as medical equipment and kids' Christmas toys.  Costco has Duracell AA (40 ct.) and AAA (32 ct.) on sale now until Sept. 29th. Regularly $16.99, they're $3.00 off. Sam's Club had them on sale last week.

EnJOY finding some power this week.

Valerie Albrechtsen
The Food Storage Organizer


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